White House Quiet on Report Two Trump Officials are Nunes' Sources

The New York Times newspaper reports the White House "sources" are Ezra Cohen-Watnick, a senior director at the National Security Council, and Michael Ellis, an attorney at the White House Counsel's Office.

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin noted that Nunes used specific language. This week, he told me that his source for that information was an intelligence official, not a White House staffer. "The White House needs to answer if this was a case where they effectively tried to launder information through our committee". "This guy is so far out of his depth, he has no idea what he's doing". Senate investigators, meanwhile, demanded the White House deliver the documents to them. "I don't know why he would travel - brief the speaker, then come down here to brief us on something that we would've briefed him on", Spicer said.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif) walks out of the White House in Washington on March 22.

The GOP chairman was shown the information while on White House grounds before he returned there last week to brief Trump about the information.

President Trump's spokesman Sean Spicer said Thursday the material the White House wants the House and Senate intelligence leaders to view was discovered by the National Security Council (NSC).

Spicer declined to comment on the Times report on Thursday afternoon, saying he didn't want to lend credence to any of its details. Mark Warner, D-Va., left, arrive for the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 30, 2017. La.

After speaking with reporters, Nunes went to the White House to brief the president about the intercepts, which he said were of little or no foreign intelligence value and were not related to Russian Federation, but which had allegedly inappropriately "unmasked" some on the Trump team. He also once worked on the committee Nunes chairs, both under Nunes and former chairman Rep. Mike Rogers.

That saga exploded last week when Nunes, a California Republican, made what seemed to be a startling disclosure: Intelligence reports he had viewed suggested that intelligence agencies had collected information about people connected to Trump's presidential transition committee.

The following day, Nunes told journalists that the U.S. intelligence community had incidentally collected information on Trump's transition team. They spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the internal matter. He didn't say he'd never answer the question, but the suggestion was there. Cohen-Watnick is a protégé of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, whose communications with the Russian ambassador were revealed earlier this year, leading to his resignation.

For more than a week, lawmakers have questioned who the source of the classified documents is.

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  • Larry Hoffman